As Srinagar-Jammu highway remained shut for the fifth consecutive day due to snowfall and landslides at various places on the highway, the stranded passengers and truck drivers on Friday protested urging the government to clear the road so that the stranded passengers can move towards their destinations.
Passengers travelling from Jammu to Kashmir have been stuck on the road for the last five days without any accommodation or help from the government and the families including women and children have been suffering badly.
Demanding the airlift facilities, one of the passengers stranded at Bus station Jammu said; “We have been stranded here for the last five days but nobody from the administration has turned up here.”
“The administration has shown no concern towards us. Had they been serious about us, we would have been airlifted long before,” he added.
The protestors said the authorities calm them every day by false promises of clearing the road next day. Meanwhile, the furious truck drivers also alleged the government for completely ignoring them as no government official has come forward to help them or know about their problems. They appealed the government to take cognizance of the situation and speed up the snow clearance process.
“We are stuck at Lower Munda for the last five days and now we are completely out of basic resources of food, water and kerosene. Our families are also worried about us and we comfort them with lies about our well-being,” said Rajbeer Singh, a truck driver, who has spent five nights in this bone-chilling weather at Lower Munda in Qazigund.
As most of the trucks stranded carry the livestock and other supplies to Kashmir from other states of the country, mostly from Punjab, a member of All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers (AKWMD), Mehraj-ud-din Ganai said that they have been making continuous requests to the authorities to give preference to livestock loaded vehicles and provide any accommodation to keep them along the Ramban area but our requests fell into deaf ears.
“The trucks carrying livestock from Jammu to Srinagar are stuck and we are facing a loss of Rupees 10 lakh daily. In addition, a serious threat is posed to the health of livestock due to cold weather conditions,” he said.
Adding to the miseries of stuck families and truck drivers, they said many shopkeepers have raised the prices of basic commodities and taking undue advantages of their problems.
Commenting on this, Sub District Magistrate (SDM) Dooru, Mir Abdul Rashid said that they are trying their best to provide relief to the stranded passengers by providing them basic necessities like food and water across the highway and accommodation at many places as well.
“Orders have been given to the Tehsildars and other government officials of each area to take cognizance of the situation and provide basic amenities to the passengers stranded,” Rashid said.
According to Traffic officials, almost 800 people are stranded on Srinagar Jammu Highway, the only road connecting the valley with rest of the country due to the closure of the highway for the last five days after huge snow avalanche had come down near Jawahar tunnel.